road, leaving the Chinese with the option of cutting through the harsh Takla
Makan desert–not the most favorable terrain. The PRC decided to take the
shortcut through Indian territory rather than the desert route. Taking
advantage of the historical quirk that they had not actually signed the
agreement at the Simla Conference, China published maps showing that
Aksai Chin belonged to them, and refused the de-facto McMahon line, in the
East of India, that demarcated the border and control of the land.
     In October 1958 the road was discovered, creating a flurry of diplomatic
messages from both sides, chastising the other for their territorial
transgressions. When the public came to know about the Chinese roads,
Nehru was faced with increasingly vocal criticism in the Indian Parliament,
and he once angrily asked his critics whether they wanted him to go to war on
this issue.
     Before these border incidents, Nehru recommended that the Indian and
Chinese governments sift through historical evidence and recommend where
the border should be. Chou en-Lai’s suggestion, made ‘On November 7,
1959, was to complete demilitarise the entire border to a depth of 20 km,
using the McMahon line in the East and the “line of actual control” in the
West. This would effectively have jeopardised India’s defensive positions in
the East, while legitimising Peking’s land grab in the West. Essentially,
China wanted a solution based on military and strategic positions, while India
wanted only a strict adherence to boundaries that had been agreed upon for
between the last forty and two hundred years.
     Tensions increased further following India’s warm welcome to the Dalai
Lama, who, crossed into India with 20,000 followers in March 1959. Mao
felt it was a loss of face, and that China “needed a victory in some sphere.”
The Chinese claim of NEFA was thus voiced in the aftermath of the 1959
Tibetan revolt.
     In 1959, at a meeting between Nehru and China’s foreign minister, Chou
En-Lai, both countries agreed not to send patrols within two miles of the
McMahon Line in NEFA. However, On August 7, 1959, about 200 Chinese
troops intruded into the Indian border at Khenzemane in the Kameng frontier
division at east of Thagla Ridge. When challenged by the Indian patrol and
asked to withdraw, they pushed the Indian party consisting of 10 men to the
bridge at Drokung Samba. China        considered the sector as within Chinese